15940331_lIf you’re not using a social media calendar to schedule your content, you’re missing out on streamlining your process for maximum effectiveness.

Dedicating just a small amount of time to creating and maintaining a calendar can save you big in the long run, and can help ensure you’re growing your presence on social media without sacrificing time spent elsewhere. These five tips will help you develop an effective social media content calendar and get it up and running in no time.

  1. Take Advantage of Tools

Don’t have the time to create a content calendar from scratch? There are plenty of programs available to help you seamlessly schedule and post to multiple accounts. Hootsuite and Sprout Social are two of the most popular, and give you the ability to plan, schedule, post, and monitor activity. Starting out with one of these tools will help you run your processes more smoothly in the future.

  1. Mix Up Your Content

Ideally, the social media content you publish should consist of a mix of trending topics and those that are timeless or “evergreen”. With a content calendar you have the benefit of being able to schedule the latter in bulk. Keep a running list of this kind of content – from product spotlights to informative posts – so you use it to flesh out your calendar.

  1. Focus on Quality over Quantity

Formulate a posting schedule based on how often you want to be active. Don’t set your sights too high, however. You want to be able to consistently publish new content from your accounts, but it’s important to do so without annoying users—over 22% of a sample of Facebook users identified too much posting as their biggest turn-off. Quality posts are the way to get engagement.

  1. Keep Timing in Mind

Optimize posting times for each platform. Keep in mind factors like your audience’s time zones, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different hours. Don’t know where to start? These some of the most commonly recommended times to post across popular platforms:

  • Facebook: The highest activity on Facebook is in the early afternoon, and users tend to engage more with content towards the end of the week and over the weekend. The peak activity time on Facebook? Wednesday at 3 pm.
  • Twitter: Peak levels of activity on Twitter are Wednesdays during lunch (12-1 pm) and at the end of the day (5-6 pm). This is also a great schedule to follow for the rest of the week.
  • LinkedIn: The best times to post on LinkedIn are in the morning before work (7:30-8:30 am) and at the end of the day (5-6 pm). Users tend to engage the most with posts on Tuesdays, between 10 and 11 am.
  1. Optimize Based on Your Audience’s Response
    Monitor your audience’s response to your posts. The times when your followers are most active online may differ from those listed above, so the best way to ensure success is to focus on what is getting you results. Keep an ear to the ground for industry topics and advancements, which will help you fill in gaps in your calendar with valuable information.